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Penalties may change for those convicted of drunk driving

The current laws in South Carolina are pretty strict when it comes to impaired driving. Depending on the substance one is accused of using and the circumstances surrounding an arrest, potential penalties typically include fines, jail time and court-ordered rehabilitation, among others. When it comes to drunk driving, in particular, the use of an ignition interlock device may also be ordered.

Ignition interlock devices require certain convicted DUI offenders to take an alcohol breath test every time they try to drive. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. While this device certainly has its place in deterring and preventing drunk driving, it is not without its problems. However, state lawmakers are looking to expand the use of these gadgets.

Right now these devices are only ordered if a DUI conviction meets certain requirements. Lawmakers are currently working toward making this a mandatory penalty for all DUI convictions. A bill has been sent to committee, and, if it passes, it would not only affect DUI convictions moving forward but also cases in which accused individuals have already entered guilty pleas.

While South Carolina lawmakers should be commended for their efforts to reduce drunk driving and DUI-related fatalities, it is reasonable to question whether proposed laws are infringing on one's rights. It is also reasonable to question the accuracy of these interlock devices. These machines are not infallible, and their widespread use could have very negative consequences for many individuals' home and professional lives. With the assistance of an experienced legal team it is possible to either challenge DUI-related charges in court or work toward achieving a reduction in charges, therefore, minimizing associated penalties.

Source:, "Lawmakers reviewing penalties on interlocking devices", Leah Holloway, April 30, 2015

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